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Lucha Underground S2E15 – No Mas

Lucha Underground – S2E15: No Mas
Date: May 4, 2016

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Previously on Lucha Underground…

TexanoAerostarand Cage won the first three of the seven Aztec Medallions that make up the Gift of the Gods Championship. Sexy Star was tormented and tortured by Marty The Moth Martinez and Mariposa, and after weeks of hiding in fear, finally fought back. 

Lucha Underground debuted in October 2014 at a time when women’s wrestling was only at the very beginning of its seismic transition into what it is today. WWE, as the industry leader, still valued women who looked like models, and could be trotted out in skimpy clothes to pull each other’s hair, and roll around for 2-3 minutes at a time, on RAW. NXT was just beginning floating its trial balloons regarding “women’s wrestling,” namely in the form of two landmark matches earlier in that year: Paige vs. Emma at NXT Arrival (February 2014) and Charlotte vs. Natalya at NXT Takeover (May 2014).

So you could make the argument, that when Lucha Underground’s pilot, ‘Welcome to the Temple,’ aired on 10/29/14, it instantly became the most progressive major promotion in the US market, by deciding to establish from the onset that Sexy Star, a long time AAA veteran, was going to be one of the foundational stars of the promotion. Not a top woman in the promotion. A top star. It was definitely bold.

The character was introduced with a vignette that was arguably the best developmental piece for a serious female star in a US based promotion ever, when it aired. It established the character as a survivor who fought against trauma and abuse all her life, and thought about killing herself, but decided she’d no longer be a victim, took up her mask, and became a fighter to show women they don’t have to be afraid. It was the antithesis of what you’d see in terms of how WWE or TNA would treat their female competitors at the time, because it was very empowering.

While the vignette was a home run, the Sexy Star experience in Lucha Underground has been somewhat uneven. She was pushed pretty hard throughout Season 1 (finishing in the final four of Aztec Warfare, and nearly winning the Gift of the Gods Championship), but her in-ring work seemed to hold the magnitude of the character back. She was sloppy and inconsistent at times; downright bad on other occasions.

Still, the show plowed ahead with her, giving her a story arc heading into Season 2 involving Marty The Moth and Mariposa. The story was that this courageous and heroic figure we saw battle against odds all throughout Season 1, was forced to relive her nightmare of abuse at the hands of these two, and it broke her, shattering her confidence. She returned to the temple a shell of her former self, and lost match after match. Finally, as Marty and Mariposa began taking advantage of her only friend, The Mack, she snapped and fought back. All of this led into tonight, where she faced down her torturer and won her redemption.

Make no mistake, this show could have been a disaster. It banked solely on this being an excellent match. The match received about 20 minutes, and was pretty much the sole focus of an episode that didn’t really do much else other than set up a match for next week, and throw out a few squashes. I’ve been hard on Sexy Star’s performances from time to time, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a glowing review of a really great job by her in this episode. The match was very good. But the emotion and storytelling launched it into the stratosphere. And most of that credit does goes to Sexy Star. Mariposa was terrific in her role (and the match, including some tremendous moves), but she very much played the part of a machine that would not stop coming at Sexy Star. Sexy was charged with selling the emotion of this whole thing, and deserves a ton of credit. The end result was one of the best matches of the season, and the conclusion of one of the better storyline arcs involving womens wrestlers we’ve probably ever seen. I’d say it’s up there with anything that’s come out of NXT (which admittedly is less elaborate in the actual storytelling and more focused on the actual fights). It’s not the best women’s wrestling match you’ll see this year. And it’s not as technically sharp as some of the top NXT women’s matches. But it’s a great spectacle, that’s enhanced if you’ve been watching this show from the beginning, and you understand the whole arc of the Sexy Star character.

As I said, there wasn’t much else to this show. A couple of feuds were teased out. Chavo Guerrero Jr, after being blown off by Dario Cueto, stole Cage’s Aztec Medallion setting up a feud. Chavo’s work in LU has been lackluster, but he also hasn’t worked with many good opponents. It’ll be interesting to see if he can become reinvigorated with a higher caliber talent like Cage. We also saw the reigniting of the Catrina/Cuerno feud. I expect this one to simmer for a bit, though, because of what’s coming next week…

The biggest storyline development of the show was the announcement of the Matanza/Mil Muertes rematch, in a “Grave Consequences” match, next week. This was done through a Cueto/Catrina vignette in which they both verbally wrestled each other into a stalemate, trying to make each other doubt whether the man they’ve backed can win. It was well acted and a nice table setter. The most interesting thing about it, though, was Dario Cueto frantically searching for something in his ceiling before it started. Maybe he’s been tipped off that the LAPD has bugged his office?

This was a highly enjoyable show, but it’s definitely a one match show. If you’re going to watch anything, watch the Sexy Star/Mariposa match.

Misc. Notes

  • Lucha Underground drew a combined 180,000 this week (138k first run, 42k replay), which was an improvement over last week, but still well off the pace for season high. More troubling is the show’s median age seems to be getting older (57.3 years old) and its men/women gap larger (91 to 9).
  • A blurb on financial site BidnessEtc indicates Lucha Underground is close to a Netflix deal. It’s not sourced, so take it for what it’s worth.
  • Lucha Underground stars will be competing in AAA’s Lucha World Cup PPV on 6/5. No word on who will represent the company yet.
  • For those trying to read the tea leaves on whether Ricochet/Prince Puma is staying or going to WWE, Ricochet recaptured the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles, along with Matt Sydal, at NJPW Donataku on 5/3. This would seem to indicate he’s staying in NJPW for a bit, which would seem to mean he’s not heading to WWE anytime soon, which may inform his LU status.

The Matches

Match #1 — Aztec Medallion Match — Marty The Moth Martinez vs. The Mack

The crowd starts the match chanting “creepy bastard!” at Marty.

Mack is introduced, and rushes the ring, knocks Marty off the apron and hits a suicide dive over the top rope, all before he takes off his jacket.

Back in the ring, Mack hits a grab bag series of rolling suplexes: a vertical suplex that he rolls over into a northern lights suplex (with a pin bridge for a near fall), that he then rolls over into a German suplex. Marty comes back with a dropkick and begins pummeling Mack into the canvas, then takes off his shirt, stares at Melissa Santos, licks his fingers, and throws his shirt at her.

Marty grabs Mack by his nostrils and drags him over to a corner, then stomps him into it. He follows with an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle, and covers for a near fall. Marty goes to a headlock, but Mack fights out, and crushes Marty with a lariat, then takes him out with a wheel kick, followed by a powerslam, and a leg drop for a near fall. With Marty on dream street, Mack hits him with a stunner, but Marty doesn’t go down, and sells being staggered on his feet, so Mack shrugs to the crowd, picks him up in a fireman’s carry, and swings him into a second stunner for the pin. Short match, and pretty much a squash.

Winner: The Mack via pinfall
Rating: *

Match #2 — Aztec Medallion Match — Sinestro De La Muerte vs. King Cuerno

Cuerno starts by dropkicking Sinestro into a corner, and stomping him into it, then follows it up with a dropkick off the ropes, and covers for a near fall. Cuerno continues with a thigh kick, then backs Sinestro into a corner and hits running double knees to Sinestro’s chest, followed by a Diamond cutter for another near fall.

Cuerno continues with a big overhand chop, then a hurricanrana that sends Sinestro to the outside. Cuerno sets up for the Arrow from the Depths of Hell, but when he hits the ropes, Catrina bashes him in the head with her black rock. Sinestro jumps back up onto the apron and hits a springboard Famouser on Cuerno and covers him for the pin!

Kind of like a bizarro squash. Cuerno takes the whole match, very much in squash match fashion, then loses to interference and a single move. Not sure how I feel about using him this way. They clearly wanted to establish him as outclassing Sinestro, but also needed to get the medallion on Sinestro, and set up a future Mil Muertes/Cuerno feud inspired by Catrina. One thing’s for sure, the crowd hated this ending.

Winner: Sinestro De La Muerte via pinfall
Rating: 1/4*

Match #3 — Aztec Medallion Defense Match — Mascarita Sagrada vs. Cage (c)

A little backstory on this since I didn’t cover it in the review portion. A few weeks ago, Famous B told Mascarita that he was the one B had chosen to make famous. Before the match tonight, we saw a vignette of Mascarita doing barbell curls (hilariously with more weight than he actually probably weighs), and Famous B, now acting as Mascarita’s agent, told him he found a guy who’d won an Aztec Medallion that was willing to defend it against Mascarita tonight.

So Mascarita gets a top notch entrance, complete with Famous B announcing him, epic symphonic entrance music, and Brenda (Famous B’s girl) accompanying him as a valet. All the while Famous B is screaming that he’s going to make Mascarita famous. And then Cage is announced as the opponent and everyone groans.

So the match starts. Mascarita grabs Cage’s thigh, but gets kicked away. Mascarita dodges a kick from Cage, and kicks his thigh a few times, then hits the ropes and gets tilt-a-whirled into a sleeperhold position on Cage, but Cage just flips him off his back. Cage charges Mascarita, but Mascarita dropkicks Cage’s thigh causing him to hit the middle turnbuckle. Mascarita charges Cage and Cage backdrop him onto the apron. Mascarita climbs to the top rope, and dives off, but Cage catches him, looks in the camera, says “I’m sorry, it’s his fault” pointing at Famous B, lifts Mascarita onto his shoulders into a fireman’s carry and hits a vicious looking F5 for the pin.

This was a little amusing, but also a pretty big waste of time. It didn’t do Cage any favors after his big win over Mundo last week to be reduced to this, and it was pretty much just an excuse to abuse Mascarita.

Winner: Cage via pinfall
Rating: N/A

Match #4 — Aztec Medallion Match — No Mas Match — Mariposa vs. Sexy Star

The set up here is the referee has a microphone and asks the competitors if they want to quit during submission sequences or after particularly brutal beatdowns.

Mariposa charges Sexy right away and misses a lariat. The two trade wastelock reversals, and Mariposa knocks Sexy down with a shoulder block, then slams her, following it up with an elbow drop and some punches, before grinding Sexy’s face into the canvas. Mariposa takes Sexy to a corner, and chops her and lays in some body shots, then chokes her against a turnbuckle for the first ‘quit’ spot. Sexy kind of groans into the mic and the referee backs off. Mariposa releases her choke and charges with a forearm splash, but Sexy dodges, and unloads some slaps and kicks, then runs to the opposite corner. Mariposa follows, and Sexy drop toe-holds her into the turnbuckle, then hits a couple modified bronco busters. Sexy pulls her to the middle of the ring and starts a series of rollings suplexes on Maripsoa, then puts her in a single leg grab for Mariposa’s first quit spot. Mariposa just screams into the mic.

Mariposa breaks the hold by using her length to pull Sexy down, then reigns punches on her, and locks her in a Edgecator, while reigning down kicks to the back of Sexy’s head. The ref asks Sexy again, and she says ‘No.’ Mariposa releases the hold and stalks Sexy for a minute waiting for her to get to her feet. Mariposa charges at her, and Sexy ducks and pulls down the top rope sending Mariposa to the outside. Sexy hits a seated senton from the apron, and unloads punches and chops, but Mariposa whips her into the outside wall, and begins choking her with a steel chair causing another ref quit spot. Sexy can’t answer this one because she’s being choked. Then Mariposa puts a chair near Sexy’s head, grabs another, and throws it at the chair on Sexy’s head. She puts another chair on Sexy’s torso and smashes her with a second chair. The ref asks her, and Sexy shakes her head.

Mariposa grabs her, and goes for a whip into the wall, but Sexy reverses it, grabs a chair, places it between Mariposa’s legs, grabs another chair, and hammers the chair into Mariposa’s vagina like a spike, causing Matt Striker to scream “Steely Dan!” Sexy locks in a choke on Mariposa, but then grabs Mariposa’s leg and punts her in the vagina (Vag shot count: 2). The two fight up the temple stairs with Mariposa regaining the advantage, and dragging Sexy up the stairs by her hair. Mariposa locks in a choke with her legs at the top of the stairs and begins ripping Sexy’s mask. The two fight through the crowd, and Mariposa starts shoving fans, then climbs a rail, and Sexy shoves her off out onto Dario Cueto’s office. Then Sexy Star starts scaling the rigging above the office out onto a scaffold at the top of the building. Mariposa follows. They fight on the scaffold, and Mariposa starts bouncing Sexy’s head off the railings, and grinding her face into it, while teasing throwing Sexy off the scaffolding a few times. We get a close up shot, and see Sexy is busted open, and blood is gushing off her face, down into a bewildered crowd below in an extremely cool spot (that’s probably a LU lawyer’s nightmare).

Mariposa continues ripping at Sexy’s mask until Sexy is able to kick her off, and begin climbing down from the scaffolding. Again, Mariposa is in pursuit. Sexy staggers out onto Dario Cueto’s office and tries to gather herself, when all of a sudden, in a brilliant camera shot, we see Marty The Moth’s creep face rise up from out of frame. Sexy notices him, and Marty jumps onto the office and kicks her, then grinds her face into a gate on the balcony. The Mack makes the save, grabs Marty, and puts Marty threw a random door in the back of the temple.

Meanwhile, Sexy gets Mariposa down, and steps on her throat. The ref checks her but Mariposa just growls. Mariposa fights up, and the two begin fighting down the bleachers, with Mariposa smashing Sexy’s head off the side of the office, while Sexy hits her with some woman’s purse. They fight over near the announce table, and Mariposa grabs Sexy by her waste and begins swinging her head first against the announce table, bashing her against it in a great, and absolutely vicious spot. Sexy’s instincts kick in and she just begins kicking wildly and violently at Mariposa, and fights her off yet again, then grabs a trash can and smashes Mariposa with it, puts it on her head, and kicks it repeatedly.

Mariposa keeps coming at Sexy Star, though, like a Terminator. They finally make it back in the ring. Mariposa sets up for a vertebreaker, but Sexy slips out. Mariposa takes her down with an exhausted clothesline, and locks in another Edgecator. The referee asks Sexy if she quits, and Sexy responds, unedited, in broken English:

“Fuck You!”
“Fuck You, Mariposa!”
“Fuck You!”

The crowd pops huge. Mariposa releases the hold, and begins smacking Sexy in the back of the head. Sexy kicks her in the vagina (Vag shot count: 3), and locks in a sleeper choke. Mariposa starts to go out, but again Marty The Moth runs in, and breaks up the hold. Marty puts his hand on Sexy’s face, touches her blood, then rubs it on his face, then winds up and punches but misses. Mack hits the ring again, and hits a stunner on Marty. Sexy runs over to Mariposa and puts her in a cross armbreaker and Mariposa screams “No Mas!”

After the match, Sexy keeps the hold locked in for a little bit for good measure, taking out all her aggression, then she throws Mariposa out of the ring and collapses, a bloody mess. Mack hands her the medallion she won, and she gives Mack a full body hug.

It’s not the best wrestling match you’ll ever see (although it’s good especially the last third), but a tremendous story, and a tremendous conclusion to a really great story told by this show.

Winner: Sexy Star via submission
Rating: ****